Weekly Roundup: January 1-5, 2018
Michael J. Keegan
DATA Act review finds errors in $2 billion of DHS transactions. Nearly $2 billion in financial transactions completed by the Department of Homeland Security could not be linked to their corresponding award-level transactions for Q2 of FY2017. These misaligned transactions constituted about 38 percent of that quarter's total obligations, according to the DHS' inspector general. This was one of the data quality issues auditors found in their review of the department's compliance with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act.
Senator seeks probe of 'burrowing' CFPB fed. A Republican senator is asking the Office of Special Counsel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the conversion of Leandra English from an Obama-era political appointee at the Office of Personnel Management to a career official at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Special Counsel Henry Kerner Dec. 4 flagging what he believes was an improper approval by OPM to convert a senior political appointee into a career position, a practice known as "burrowing in."
Will 2018 be the year for blockchain for government? Government application of the ledger technology lags behind the hype, but expect more experiments to take off in the coming months.
Congress requires mobile-friendly websites. With federal government websites often a generation behind commercial sites, Congress in late December passed the Connected Government Act, which requires all federal agencies that create or redesign websites for public use ensure to the "greatest extent possible" that their websites are mobile friendly. Mobile friendly is defined as a website configuration that can be easily navigated, viewed and accessed on a smartphone, tablet computer or similar mobile device. After the legislation is signed by President Donald Trump, the Office of Management and Budget, in consultation with the General Services Administration, will submit a report to Congress within 18 months describing the act's and agency compliance.
White House names acquisition leaders at DOD, Air Force. The White House announced nominations for two key defense acquisition positions Jan. 3 for the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Air Force.Kevin Fahey, who formerly led the Army's Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology's systems engineering and integration and was the program executive officer for combat ground systems, will become the assistant defense secretary for acquisition. The White House named William Roper, the current director for the defense secretary's Strategic Capabilities Office, to be the Air Force's assistant secretary of acquisition.
Hiring Re-Design. Federal News Radio reports: “After fielding complaints about its lengthy and confusing hiring process — which can take anywhere from 150-to-550 days for some positions — the Food and Drug Administration is throwing the incremental approach to hiring improvement out the window. . . Instead, the FDA is redesigning its hiring process, and this spring it will begin phase 1 of a brand new pilot that will attempt to resolve frustrations from agency hiring managers and its own applicants.”
Good Enough for Government Work. In a column in FCW, Harvard professor Steve Kelman reflects on the phrase, noting: “It turns out that the original meaning of this phrase was the exact opposite of the meaning it has since been given.”
Reflections on a Career in Service. Federal News Radio’s Tom Temin interviews former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen about his varied career experiences in public service, tackling big, thankless problems.
Cross-Agency Oversight Can Help. FCW reports: “By working across agency lines, watchdogs could improve tech, cybersecurity and financial oversight governmentwide, according to an end-of year report from the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.”
* * *John Whitley, author of the IBM Center report, Five Actions to Improve Military Hospital Performance.
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